The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland Established:1 January 1995 Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94) Membership: 153 countries on 23 July 2008 Budget: 196 million Swiss francs for 2011 Head: Pascal Lamy (Director-General)
Functions: • Administering WTO trade agreements • Forum for trade negotiations • Handling trade disputes • Monitoring national trade policies • Technical assistance and training for developing countries • Cooperation with other international organizations
The WTO is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. The goal is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the member countries By lowering trade barriers, the WTO’s system also breaks down other barriers between peoples and nations.
The WTO agreements are lengthy and complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities. But a number of simple, fundamental principles run throughout all of these documents. These principles are the foundation of the multilateral trading system. Non-discrimination More open Predictable and transparent More competitive More beneficial for less developed countries Protect the environment
More open : Lowering trade barriers is one of the most obvious ways of encouraging trade; these barriers include customs duties and measures such as import bans or quotas that restrict quantities selectively. More beneficial for less developed countries : Giving them more time to adjust, greater flexibility and special privileges; over three-quarters of WTO members are developing countries and countries in transition to market economies. Non-discrimination : A country should not discriminate between its trading partners and it should not discriminate between its own and foreign products, services or nationals.
The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers or by their ambassadors or delegates While the WTO is driven by its member states, it could not function without its Secretariat to coordinate the activities. Trade negotiations Implementation and monitoring Dispute settlement Building trade capacity Outreach
Trade negotiations : They include individual countries’ commitments to lower customs tariffs and other trade barriers, and to open and keep open services markets. They set procedures for settling disputes. These agreements are not static; they are renegotiated from time to time and new agreements can be added to the package. Dispute settlement : The WTO’s procedure for resolving trade quarrels under the Dispute Settlement Understanding is vital for enforcing the rules and therefore for ensuring that trade flows smoothly.
The ten benefits1. The system helps promote peace2. Disputes are handled constructively3. Rules make life easier for all4. Freer trade cuts the costs of living5. It provides more choice of products and qualities6. Trade raises incomes7. Trade stimulates economic growth8. The basic principles make life more efficient9. Governments are shielded from lobbying10. The system encourages good government
In 1994, the WTO members agreed on the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) annexed to the "Final Act" signed in Marrakesh in 1994. Dispute settlement is regarded by the WTO as the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and as a "unique contribution to the stability of the global economy“
WTO members have agreed that, if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves the DSB panels, the Appellate Body, the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, independent experts and several specialized institutions. Bodies involved in the dispute settlement process, World Trade Organization.
Disputes chronologically Disputes by country/territory Disputes by agreement Disputes by subject Find disputes cases Dispute Settlement Body Appellate Body
The Doha Round is the latest round of trade negotiations among the WTO membership. Its aim is to achieve major reform of the international trading system through the introduction of lower trade barriers and revised trade rules. The work programme covers about 20 areas of trade. The Round is also known semi-officially as the Doha Development Agenda as a fundamental objective is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries.
The Round was officially launched at the WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The Doha Ministerial Declaration provided the mandate for the negotiations, including on agriculture, services and an intellectual property topic, which began earlier. In Doha, ministers also approved a decision on how to address the problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO agreements.
The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession. A discussion of some of the most important agreements follows. The Agreement on Agriculture came into effect with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995 The AoA has three central concepts, or "pillars": domestic support, market access and export subsidies
The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides such a system for merchandise trade. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures — also known as the SPS Agreement was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Agriculture Subsidies & countervail· Agriculture negotiations measures· Cotton Sub-Committee Tariffs Balance of payments Technical barriers to trade Customs valuation Textiles GATT & the Goods Council Trade facilitation Goods schedules Import licensing Information Technology Agreement Safeguard measures State trading enterprises
There are 153 members of WTO. In which India is ranked 67th India became the member of WTO on 1st January 1995.
Pascal Lamy Pascal Lamy is the fifth Director-General of the WTO. His appointment took effect on 1 September 2005 for a four-year term. In April 2009 WTO membersreappointed Mr. Lamy for asecond four-year term, startingon 1 September 2009.
There is so much more about this organizationIf interested please visit the sitewww.wto.orgInformation from: WTO web siteGoogleForex News show
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